Summary Annual Report



The Summary Annual Report (SAR) provides a narrative summary of the financial information contained on the Form 5500 and a statement of the right to receive an annual report.


If a plan is not required to file a Form 5500 then it is also exempt from the SAR requirement.

In addition, an unfunded welfare plan need not provide SARs. (An unfunded plan is one in which plan benefits are paid as needed directly and exclusively from the general assets of the employer.) Even though large unfunded plans (those with 100 or more covered employee participants) have to file a Form 5500, they are exempt from providing a SAR.

Please note that large insured plans (which also must file a Form 5500), are subject to the SAR requirement.


Information provided in the SAR should be based upon information contained in the most recent filing of the Form 5500.  If a plan is not required to include information on its Form 5500, it does not need to include the information on the SAR.

The categories of information to be included on a SAR are as follows:

Funding and Insurance Information

Basic Financial Information
If any of the plan funds are held in trust or in a separately maintained fund, the SAR should report:

Rights to Additional Information
The SAR must contain statements that the individual receiving the SAR has the right to:

The SAR must also provide information about how to obtain a copy of the SAR form the Department of Labor.

Offer Assistance in a Non-English Language

Template SAR

A sample SAR is included in the DOL Regulations.

The DOL also provides a SAR Template.


A copy of the SAR should be provided to all participants and beneficiaries receiving benefits, who participated in the plan during the plan year.


The SAR must be furnished within nine months of the close of the plan year (or the fiscal year for a trust if it files the Form 5500).

If the plan administrator obtains an extension of time to file the Form 5500, the SAR must be furnished within two months after the end of the extension period.



There are no specific penalties for not automatically providing a SAR, beyond the actions that can be taken for violating an ERISA provision.